Music and sound effects are key to a great gaming experience. Gaming headsets are a little more specialized than typical headphones and having the right pair of gaming headphones can help improve your overall time spent gaming. The best gaming headphones are comfortable, sound good, and have a decent microphone. They also usually have dedicated software support, lots of active features, and have customization options. However, specialized gaming headsets can be quite bulky and the wireless models are often limited by the range of their transmitter. If you play single player games exclusively and don’t need a microphone, then most wired, critical listening headphones would be a good option too.
So far, we've reviewed nearly 400 headphones and below are our recommendations for the best gaming headsets to buy in 2019. See also our recommendations for the best PS4 headsets, the best Xbox One headsets, and the best wireless gaming headsets.
The best gaming headset for PC and PS4 we've tested so far is the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless. These headphones sound impressive and have great imaging, which should help you pinpoint sounds and know exactly where they're coming from. They can mix audio from a Bluetooth source, allowing you to mix phone calls or music into your game audio, and they come with a great wireless transmitter for low-latency gaming. The transmitter has AUX, USB, and optical inputs, making it compatible with most home theater setups. It also functions as a battery charging station, allowing you to swap out and charge one of the two included batteries.
While they do offer some customization of their sound profile, unfortunately their EQ has fewer bands and a lower level of microphone control than the SteelSeries Arctis Pro GameDAC. They're also quite expensive, so if you're a fan of their design but don't need the Bluetooth or base transmitter, you may want to consider the SteelSeries Arctis 7 2019 Edition.
If you like to customize your headphones' sound profile to better suit your own needs, get the Logitech G933. They don't feel as durable as the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless and their microphone isn't as good, but they provide more customization through the Logitech G Hub app. The app is one of the most comprehensive we've seen to date, providing an excellent parametric equalizer, mic and surround sound settings, as well as different sound profiles. The newer Logitech G935 Wireless sound better out-of-the-box, but their provided audio cable doesn't include an in-line remote if you want to use the headphones with your smartphone on-the-go.
Get the SteelSeries if you prefer a more feature-packed, premium design, but if customization is what matters most for you, then you’ll want to go for the Logitech G933.
The best wired gaming headset we've tested so far is the Astro A40 TR + MixAmp Pro 2019. They're available in a dedicated variant for either the Xbox One or the PS4 and both also work on PC. The headphones feel very well-built and are comfortable enough for your longest gaming sessions. They come with Astro's MixAmp Pro TR, which is a great USB dock that provides a good number of inputs and features, like channel mixing and virtual surround sound. They sound a bit more open than most gaming headphones we've reviewed thanks to their open-back design, and they have an excellent boom microphone.
By default, their treble performance is okay-at-best and they lack quite a bit of detail and presence on dialog or vocals. Thankfully, you can adjust the way they sound in the Astro Command Center and assign your favorite EQ presets directly to the MixAmp. Their bulky, gamer-centric design won't be for everyone, but if you're looking for premium wired gaming headphones that you can get for either the Xbox One or the PS4, then these are a great choice, and are some of the best gaming headphones out there.
If you want something you can customize on-the-fly, then get the SteelSeries Arctis Pro GameDAC. The headphones don't have the best frequency response consistency and the GameDAC isn't compatible with the Xbox One, but it has a 10-band EQ built right in so you can easily tweak the way they sound on PC or PS4. The open-back Astro A40 TR Headset + MixAmp Pro 2019 sound more consistent and are available with an Xbox One-compatible MixAmp, but don't provide as many customization options.
If you need Xbox One compatibility and prefer open-backs, then get the Astros, but if you're a PC or a PS4 gamer who wants something more customizable, then you'll want the SteelSeries.
If you’re looking for cheaper gaming headphones that you can also use with your smartphone or tablet, then get the Logitech G433. They don't support channel mixing like the Astro A40 TR Headset + MixAmp Pro 2019, but they sound better and are more versatile thanks to all the included accessories. Logitech provides you with a USB DAC for customization with the Logitech G Hub software, a Y-splitter, as well as two audio cables: one for PC or console gaming and one with an inline remote for use with your mobile devices. They're less durable than the Astro but have well-made, well-padded fabric ear cups that should be comfortable for most people.
Get the Astro if you're into multiplayer gaming and constantly need to adjust the levels of your chat and gameplay, but if you want a gaming headset that you can use as every-day headphones with your smartphone, get the G433.
The best gaming headset for Xbox One we’ve tested so far is the SteelSeries Arctis 9X. These headphones connect directly to your Xbox One console without using additional adapters or dongles, which is very convenient. Like all the headphones we’ve tested in the Arctis lineup so far, they sound very good, have a great retractable boom microphone, and are very comfortable. Their 28-hour battery is excellent and they’re also Bluetooth compatible, so you can mix audio from your smartphone into the headphones, like with the Arctis Pro Wireless.
Like the Arctis Pro GameDAC, they have poor frequency response consistency, so you may find they sound a bit different than we measured. While you can technically EQ the way these headphones sound with the SteelSeries Engine on PC, you won’t be able to hear the live EQ preview unless your PC supports Xbox Wireless or you have an adapter, which is disappointing. Since they’re intended to be directly paired with your Xbox One, they’re also not a great choice for home theatre systems set up around a receiver. That said, if an Xbox Wireless connection is what you’re after, then they're a solid choice.
If you want a gaming headset that you can also use with your home theater to watch movies and TV with, get the Astro A50 Gen 4 2019. Their battery doesn't last nearly as long as the SteelSeries Arctis 9X, though it is longer than the previous generation Astro A50 Wireless. They don't support Bluetooth, but they come with an excellent docking station that has multiple connectivity options to hook up to your home theater setup and can also charge the headphones. Unfortunately, unlike the previous generation, their base station is console-locked, so if you're going to use them with Xbox One, make sure to get the correct variant. On the upside, they sound great and have an outstanding microphone, making them great for multiplayer games.
If you want a gaming headset with Bluetooth or prefer to connect directly to your Xbox, get the Arctis 9X, but if you want an Xbox One-compatible headset that also works great for watching movies or TV, get the Astro A50 Gen 4.
The best budget gaming headset we’ve tested so far is the Corsair HS60. These comfortable gaming headphones feel very well-built for the price, with a sleek wired design and sturdy metal design. They have a well-balanced sound, which is great not only for gaming but also if you like to just listen to music casually from time to time too. You can also customize the way they sound on PC with the Corsair iCUE software, which is great for budget headphones.
Their detachable boom microphone provides added versatility, but they don’t come with an in-line mic so you won’t be able to take calls with them on your smartphone. Their mic also doesn’t perform as well as that of HyperX Cloud Stinger. However, they don’t look or feel as premium as the Corsair for about the same price. If you like the fit and sound of the HS60 but want wireless headphones and are willing to stretch your budget a bit, consider the wireless Corsair HS70, but they can’t be used wired so they’re a bit less versatile than the HS60.
If you play multiplayer games and need something with a great microphone but don't want to break the bank, get the HyperX Cloud Stinger. They feel cheaper than the Corsair HS60, but their boom mic performs much better and does an excellent job at cutting out background noise so other players should still hear you clearly. While they sound good out-of-the-box, unfortunately they don't offer companion software to allow you to customize the sound profile. They have a standard 1/8" TRRS connection that can plug into any console controller or directly into a PC.
Get the Corsair if you're looking for a more premium-feeling gaming headset with a customizable sound profile, but if you play a lot of multiplayer games and want an amazing and clear-sounding microphone, go with the HyperX.
If you prefer the compact format of earphones even while gaming, then the best earbuds for gaming that we’ve tested so far are the 1More Triple Driver. We haven’t yet tested any dedicated gaming earbuds, but they perform well enough overall to be a decent choice for gamers looking for something more discreet than a bulky over-ear gaming headset, and were listed among our best earbuds and in-ear headphones. They can be plugged into any console controller and their balanced sound makes them suitable not only for video games but also listening to music or podcasts.
They're best for use in a quiet room as their in-line microphone doesn’t fare well in noisier situations and they don’t isolate as much noise as other in-ear headphones we’ve tested. That said, they come with a couple of foam tip options that might provide better isolation performance. Overall, they’re decent earbuds for gaming, especially if you prefer something you can use casually as well.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best gaming headphones and the best gaming earbuds to buy for most people in each price range. We factor in the price (cheaper headphones win over pricier ones if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors, and availability (no headphones that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).
If you would like to choose for yourself, here is the list of all our reviews for headphones that are good for gaming. Be careful not to get caught up in the details. There are no perfect headphones. Personal taste, preference, and listening habits will matter more in your selection, especially if you do not care about having a microphone or wireless features.
10/25/2019: Replaced Astro A50 with Astro A50 Gen 4 2019.